Relic Traveller: Phase 1 

Multi Disciplinary Project, 2017

Relic Traveller: Phase 1, is a multi-disciplinary project, which manifests in performance, audio, moving image and prose. Centred within themes related to Sanko-time, Relic Traveller takes place across various landscapes and locations; the project continues to build upon a postcolonial perspective informed by technology, agency and the body, and narratives of migration.

This speculative project continues to consider the social and political climate of recent times; the rise of nationalism within the global West and tensions surrounding moments such as the United Kingdom’s leave ‘Brexit’ vote in 2016. Meanwhile, the African Union’s passport programme (also established in 2016) moves towards the opening of boarders across a unified African continent. The Relic Traveller series aims to imagine a future in which the global West devolves to a point of decline. In this future the African Union ascends into a prosperous, and harmonious collective, free of Western interference and reliance, to take full responsibility in shaping the future of the planet.

At this unspecified point in time, the African Union create the ‘Relic Travellers’ Alliance’, a programme that equips Relic Travellers with space-travelling technology for the sole purpose of venturing outside of the African Union to retrieve testimonies left by ancestors oppressed because of colonisation, capitalism, and globalisation. These uncovered ‘relics’ are collected and used as a basis for the African Union to responsibly govern the future, informed by a grass roots perspective.

PAN AFRICAN FLAG FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS' ALLIANCE (ASCENSION) explores themes related to Sanko-time and African diasporic identity. The design features 54 stars that represent the 54 countries of Africa, while the colours green, black and red reflect its land, its people and the struggles the continent has endured, respectively. The field of yellow gold represents a new day and prosperity. Alongside the Pan African colours, the symbols featured in Ascension are arranged in a form that suggests a human figure in flight – a futuristic icon moving towards unity and equilibrium. 

Relic 0 is the prelude to the series and is a short film that moves between African and Western vistas, focusing on specific architectures of colonialism, delivered by an anonymous narrator. Discoveries lead to poetic moments of the sublime meeting with increasingly harrowing tales of trauma - highlighting the sinister way that anxiety, fear and displacement are both generated and policed in postcolonial society. The electronic score and ringing clarity of the narrator's testimony reveal new landscapes and temporality, born from cracks in a traumatised, apocalyptic present.

In the short film Relic 1, one of the Relic Travellers is featured apparating sites across a seemingly desolate United Kingdom. Uncovering fragments of audible data presenting clue-like testimonies to a forgotten Empire. Continuing the threads of Relic 0, the traveller is faced with an atmosphere which is increasingly harrowing, and claustrophobic revisiting ever present tales of trauma. This creates a familiar feeling of otherness, and a journey that embodies hysteria.

Voyage of the Relic Traveller is a performance by Larry Achiampong with Shiraz Bayjoo, the work simultaneously combines multi-channel visuals depicting historical, present and future colonial narratives accompanied by an intense, beat-driven live soundtrack of remixed audio and spoken word. 

The Relic Traveller Phase 1 Soundtrack plays with new methodologies; marrying linguistic threads and an evocative, original synth-based sounds to deliver a soundtrack that ties with the open cinematic landscapes depicted in his video works Relic 0 and Relic 1.

© Photos by Sue Parkhill & Hydar Dewachi